Tag Archive for ‘Mac Pro’

No Mac Pro for You ➝

Matt Birchler, referencing my assertion that ten years ago he would have purchased a Mac Pro instead of a PC:

I think he’s absolutely right. I would have bit the bullet and paid a bit more to get a nicer enclosure and the software I much prefer. 15 years ago when I went to college, I kind of assumed I would eventually get a Mac Pro because it wasn’t that much more expensive than the $2,500 laptop I just bought.

I know the Mac Pro is a low volume product, even at the lower prices of ten years ago. But I think Apple would be wise to rethink the current state of their lineup — I’m sure there are a lot of enthusiasts that are considering PCs again. And those are the same sorts of people that influence the buying decisions of their friends and family.

➝ Source: birchtree.me

Not Selling the Computer I Want ➝

Matt Birchler:

This all brought me to an interesting realization: Apple doesn’t make a Mac for me anymore.

Or maybe I’ve just changed what I want from a desktop computer. Either way, none of the options Apple currently sells would make me happy, which is how we get to today.

He ended up purchasing a PC from Dell. And this is someone that has been using Macs for decades. If that doesn’t tell you how dire the situation is, I don’t know what will.

I’ve written previously about my frustration with Apple’s Mac Pro pricing and I think that’s the key to all of this. The Mac Pro was the safety valve — the best option when no other Mac met your needs. Because of its internal expansion and high power ceiling, it was versatile enough for just about any task. The current Mac Pro has that in spades, but what it doesn’t have is a relatively affordable starting price point. Without that, folks like Matt and myself have to consider whether macOS is actually worth buying a machine that doesn’t offer the features or form factor we need.

Ten years ago, I suspect Matt would have ended up with a Mac Pro. Perhaps begrudgingly since it was a bit over his budget, but at least he would have had an option that was attainable. The current Mac Pro is just too darn expensive for a large swath of Mac users that previously would have considered it as the best option for them.

Unlike Matt, I’m not going to end up with a PC — my current plan is to buy a new Mac Mini. But it’s pretty sad that Mac enthusiasts are even having this conversation.

➝ Source: birchtree.me

The Mac Pro Is Overpriced

I’ve seen a bit of chatter in the Apple scene claiming that the Mac Pro isn’t overpriced. I won’t point out anyone specifically, though, as it’s likely these articles are designed as clickbait and I’d prefer not to give them what they’re aiming for. But, those people’s opinions are misguided. The Mac Pro is overpriced. Maybe it isn’t overpriced when compared to similar PC workstations, but Mac users don’t typically decide between Apple’s offerings and those from PC manufacturers. Mac users like running macOS and Apple is the only game in town if that’s one of your requirements in a new computer.

But the Mac Pro is overpriced from a historical perspective — the starting price point is just so much higher than previous iterations of the machine. The most recent version, the trash can Mac Pro started at $3,000 — half the price of the new model. Even adjusted for inflation, that would be about $3,300 today.

Going back a little bit further, to the cheese grater Mac Pro, that machine’s standard model was $2,500. But you could even configure it with a lesser CPU option and purchase it for only $2,300. That’s just under $2,600 when adjusted for inflation.

I don’t care about the Mac Pro’s pricing on the high-end either. It’s a good thing that buyers can configure a Mac with premium components. I don’t know who needs a 28-core computer with 1.5 TB of RAM, but if Apple didn’t offer it, those people would have to go elsewhere.

The issue with pricing is on the low end — the starting price point is too high for an entire swath of users that used to use older iterations of the Mac Pro as their primary machine and many of those people would use one today if a lower-cost option was available.

When I bought my first Mac in 2006, many of the “influencers” in the Apple scene owned Mac Pros. And as a young adult who just graduated high school, I was always envious of them. The Mac Pro had so much to offer — the ability to upgrade and expand its capabilities with aftermarket components, it was more powerful than any other computers in Apple’s lineup, and all inside of a nifty looking, cool and quiet chassis.

I believe there is still a market for such a machine. There are plenty of hobbyists and independent pros that would love to use a computer that offered these attributes, but their budget might not allow for the current Mac Pro.

Could they use another computer in Apple’s lineup? Yes, they could. But the iMac, Mac Mini, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air all offer something a bit different in terms of form factor and compromises — there isn’t anything that fills the role of the Mac Pro quite like the Mac Pro.

Speaking personally, I’m in the market to replace the Mac Mini that we’ve been using as our home server. It’s a 2011 model and doesn’t support the last two versions of macOS, so it’s about time to upgrade. It won’t be long before some of the software I rely on won’t receive updates for the Mac Mini’s OS. Currently, the machine runs Plex, regularly rips and converts DVDs/Blu-rays, acts as our Time Machine server, and stores a backup of our photo library.

Since I purchased the Mac Mini, the rest of our computing setup has changed substantially. My wife and I use iPads and iPhones as our primary devices and I have a work-issued laptop. Neither one of us have a good reason to justify owning personal Macs anymore. We would be much better served with a machine that can perform the duties of our home server while also acting as a family computer for those rare times when we need to use a specific piece of software or perform a task that’s difficult or impossible on iOS — albeit a rare occurrence these days.

If it was 2012, the Mac Pro would be the perfect computer for the job. There would be no question about it. I could buy the base model at a relatively affordable price with the idea of upgrading it in a year or two to increase its lifespan and overall performance. I could load it up with a bunch of internal hard drives to store our photos, media, and the Time Machine backups from my work laptop — no messy external drives necessary. And it could handle just about any task we threw at it while performing all of its other duties. I wouldn’t even need an additional display because I could simply connect the one I already use for work whenever I needed to use the Mac Pro directly.

But because of the current Mac Pro’s pricing, I’m left having to make compromises. I either buy a Mac Mini and deal with the fan noise coming from the corner of my office and the messy rats nest of cables from the external drives or I get an iMac. And that would come with its own set of compromises — the iMac comes with a built-in display that I don’t need, restricting where I can place the computer, I’d still have to deal with external drives, and I wouldn’t have the option of a 2TB internal SSD because Apple doesn’t offer it in the iMac.

Neither of those options are particularly cost effective, mind you. The Mac Mini configured in the way I’d want it — with an upgraded CPU and 2TB SSD — would set me back about $2,100. And a similarly configured iMac would cost about $2,200. A theoretical $2,500–3,000 Mac Pro would give me even more power than the Mini or iMac, with plenty of room to grow through upgrades in the future.

There’s a huge hole in Apple’s desktop offerings between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro. And I think it would be in their best interest to fill that void with a computer that featured iMac-like performance in a Mac Pro-like package. The iMac might be a good option for some, but it isn’t right for everyone. And I’m sure there are plenty of podcasters, developers, video producers, enthusiasts, hobbyists, and more that would love the option of a lower-cost Mac Pro like this.

In the end, I’ll probably end up with a Mac Mini, but I’m not happy about it. It might be the best machine for me when considering the alternatives, but it’s not the best machine for me.

What Does the iMac Pro Tell Us About the All New Mac Pro to Follow? ➝

Ben Lovejoy, on the upcoming Mac Pro:

So yes, Apple has promised that it will be the best machine in the line-up, meaning that by definition it has to have a higher spec than the iMac Pro. But perhaps not massively so. What you’ll really be buying with the Mac Pro is two things.

First, configuration options. Four USB-C ports is good, but as the standard takes off, there will be pros who’ll want more – and you’ll be able to add them. Up to 4TB fast SSD is very nice, but again, AV pros will want more, and they’ll be able to add it without having to hang them off the outside of the machine. And so forth. Unlike the iMac, you won’t be buying a sealed unit.

Second, longevity. The iMac Pro will be a stonking spec when it launches, but of course technology never stands still. A blindingly-fast machine today will look distinctly pedestrian a few years down the line. With a modular format, you should be able to simply slot in new components as they become available – including, I’m sure, CPU and GPU.

The iMac Pro Is Not the New Mac Pro ➝

From Apple’s press release for the iMac Pro:

In addition to the new iMac Pro, Apple is working on a completely redesigned, next-generation Mac Pro architected for pro customers who need the highest-end, high-throughput system in a modular design, as well as a new high-end pro display.

I would normally assume that everyone had seen this already, but my busy week has reminded me that not everyone follows this stuff so closely.

But it’s also worth mentioning that, in an alternate timeline where Apple didn’t have their change of heart, which resulted in the roundtable meeting in April, this might have been Apple’s replacement for the Mac Pro.

Why Pro Matters ➝

Sebastiaan de With, writing on Medium:

Without a truly top-tier workstation, Apple will miss out on a huge segment of digital creatives that can craft the future of human-machine interaction — something way beyond tapping a piece of glass. It would lack a Mac workstation with the raw computing power to prototype VR and AR interactions, build game worlds, simulate complex models and render the effects of tomorrow’s great feature films all the while offering those same creatives a platform to create for its own mobile devices.

The build up to the above quote is absolutely fantastic — running through a brief history of how professional Mac users helped Apple get to where they are today.

The Cheese Grater Mac Pro ➝

Stephen Hacket takes a look back at the “cheese grater” Mac Pro that Apple first introduced in 2006 and continued iterating until the release of the most recent, “trash can-style” design in 2013.

Why Couldn’t Apple Have Done This Sooner? ➝

Nick Heer, on this morning’s Mac Pro news:

I’m not surprised that it has taken this long to even get a whiff of an updated Mac Pro to suit the needs of all of their customers. But why would the development of an all-new Mac Pro preclude them from doing today’s spec bump update a year or two ago? I think that users’ concerns would have been assuaged by even slightly more regular updates. […]

The news of a new display is some pretty fantastic icing on the cake, as far as I’m concerned. I expected that Apple had left the display business behind; their partnership with LG seemed to confirm that. After the fiasco with the 5K displays, I couldn’t be happier to read that external displays are still in Apple’s plans.

As I wrote earlier today, I’m very hopeful about the future of pro-level Macs. But I’m with Nick on this, why didn’t Apple release minor speed improvements sooner? Why did it take them four years to do something, anything, to the Mac Pro?

And, even as someone who has never owned a standalone Apple display, I’m ecstatic about them being in development again.